As usual, Ryan Keberle is having a busy year. When not touring with a who’s who of New York big bands, from Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society to the Ryan Truesdell Gil Evans Project, the versatile trombonist has been working on a new record with Catharsis, his longtime pianoless quartet. Titled Into the Zone, the album is due out on September 30 on Greenleaf Music. The record’s mix of standard tunes and long-form originals might be typical for Keberle, but few other chordless ensembles are as meticulously arranged or have influences as widespread; the new album draws from Keberle’s rainbow of career experiences, with a Gil Evans tune he picked up on the Ryan Truesdell tour, a Uruguayan groove inspired by his time in Latin bands, and a particularly sprawling composition that recalls Keberle’s most idiosyncratic employer, Sufjan Stevens.
The record’s title reflects a concept that Keberle calls “elusively familiar”: a creatively flowing state of mind unfettered by self-critique. In the liner notes, Keberle reflects on his own pursuit of “The Zone”:
I’ve found that the key to success, aside from a regular practice regimen, is to accept one’s musical strengths and weaknesses while striving for honest, authentic, and personal musical output. Another great source of insight on this topic has come from playing with other improvisers who have mastered such mindful creativity.
As on the trombonist’s last album, Into the Zone features vocalist Camila Meza, an accomplished guitarist and songwriter in her own right. Meza and the rest of the band (trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, bassist Jorge Roeder, and drummer Eric Doob) will appear with Keberle this weekend at the Gallery.
In February, we interviewed Keberle and discussed his composition process and why he likes leading ensembles with unusual instrumentation. You can read that interview here, and Keberle’s full liner notes for Into the Zone are available on his website.
Ryan Keberle and Catharsis perform this Saturday, August 2nd, at The Jazz Gallery. The performance features Keberle on trombone, Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, Jorge Roeder on bass, Eric Doob on drums, plus special guest Camila Meza on voice. Sets are at 9 and 11 pm. $22 general admission, $10 for Members, and free for SummerPass Holders. Purchase tickets here.